City of Porterdale

General Information

History

The City of Porterdale is located 35 miles east of Atlanta on the Yellow River in Newton County, Georgia.  In 1899 the Bibb Manufacturing Company built a twine mill on the river and named it Porterdale Mill after a founder of the community, Oliver Porter.  The community of mill homes attracted workers looking for jobs and a better life.

Porterdale was a typical mill town run in an orderly, patriarchal manner.  The homes were owned and maintained by the mill for their workers.  The Bibb had its own greenhouses so flowers were planted and the houses were routinely painted in what became known as Bibb white.  Those who remember still reminisce about how beautiful and how strong a community existed.

In the 1970's the mill closed and what followed was a deterioration due to the sale of homes, many to landlords who allowed the homes to fall into decay.  Porterdale became a haven for those on hard times and crime and drugs soon followed.  The wonderful Porterdale community was gone.

In 2006 the Porterdale Mill, in ruins, was purchased and turned into lofts overlooking the Yellow River.  This was the stimulus for the New Porterdale.  People came from all over to live in The Lofts, stirring up a small business community that would begin to grow.   A new Police Department began to enforce the laws and crack down on those who had contributed to the city's bad reputation and the city began to enforce housing codes.  People began to take an interest in the wonderful, historic mill cottages and began to purchase them for owner occupancy.

And so the dynamic is rapidly changing - The long neglected Yellow River is now clean, is a part of the Georgia Rivers Network and a local hub for kayaking.  A room in the renovated railroad depot is being used as a library and Porterdale is part of the Little Free Library movement.  New playgrounds have been built.  The National Park Service has designed an extensive park that will be constructed along the river linking Porterdale to a major walking trail system.  The existing depot will serve as the trailhead.  The historic Porterdale Memorial Gym,  damaged extensively by fire in 2005, is being repurposed as an open air event center by retaining the original brick exterior.

Porterdale is, perhaps, the most intact mill village in the south due to the fact that the original area of cottages built for the black workers, along with their school, remains today. Porterdale is yet another Phoenix rising from the ashes of hard scrabble times to take its place in Georgia's great tradition of history and tourism.  It is a great place to visit and, once again, a great place to live.